January 30, 2020 / 9:49 PM / 25 days ago

CANADA FX DEBT-C$ recovers from 7-week low as WHO calms investor fears

 (Adds strategist quotes and details throughout; updates prices)
    * Canadian dollar trades near flat against the greenback
    * Loonie touches its weakest intraday level since Dec. 11
    * Price of U.S. oil falls 0.7%
    * Canadian bond yields rise across a steeper curve

    By Fergal Smith
    TORONTO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little
changed against the greenback on Thursday, with the loonie
recovering from an earlier seven-week low as the World Health
Organization praised China's prompt actions to limit the spread
of the coronavirus outbreak.    
    The WHO declared that the epidemic in China now constitutes
a public health emergency of international concern.             
    "Equities began to turn around and currencies followed when
the WHO declared the coronavirus an international emergency,"
said Michael Goshko, corporate risk manager at Western Union
Business Solutions. "They can offer a lot more oversight and
assistance to foreign nations, so I think the market got a
little bit of comfort from that announcement."    
    Canada is a major exporter of commodities, including oil, so
its economy could be hurt if the outbreak weighs on global
growth.    
    U.S. crude oil futures        were down 0.7% at $52.95 a
barrel, clawing back some of its decline after it hit an earlier
three-month low at $51.66.             
    At 4:22 p.m. (1922 GMT), the Canadian dollar          was
trading nearly unchanged at 1.3193 to the greenback. The
currency touched its weakest intraday level since Dec. 11 at
1.3227.
    Financial vulnerabilities like high household debt could
undermine central bank efforts to keep inflation in check, since
they potentially limit the effectiveness of interest rate cuts,
Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Paul Beaudry said.             
    Last week, the central bank left its key interest rate
unchanged at 1.75% but said a future cut was possible should a
recent slowdown in domestic growth persist. Canada's gross
domestic product data for November is due on Friday.
                   
    Canadian government bond yields rose across a steeper yield
curve on Thursday. The 10-year yield, which hit its lowest
intraday level since Oct. 8 at 1.276%, was up 1.8 basis points
at 1.328%.

 (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and
Daniel Wallis)
  
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